What You Should Do When Selecting a Vendor

By Kim S. Nash  |  Posted 2002-12-09 Print this article Print

After a failed first implementation involving enterprise resource planning software (ERP), Russ Berrie & Co. spent more than a year planning its second ERP implementation.

Here are some of the smart things the Teddy-bear company did the second time around, before giving the business to J.D. Edwards:

  • Evaluate at least three vendors. A wildcard fourth will also help you test assumptions about the genre of software you're seeking.
  • Level the playing field. Request that the vendors settle basic contractual premises about the business relationship before the technology evaluation is complete.
  • Don't rush. Many companies put a strict time limit on how long evaluations will last. But sometimes, it takes longer to really understand the products and how the vendor is likely to work with you.
  • Treat all vendors the same. Don't share information or insight with one that you withhold from another. You won't make the best decision if the vendors aren't on an equal footing.

    Senior Writer
    Kim has covered the business of technology for 14 years, doing investigative work and writing about legal issues in the industry, including Microsoft Corp.'s antitrust trial. She has won numerous awards and has a B.S. degree in journalism from Boston University.

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